‘Missing’ $20bn: Reps issue fresh ultimatum to Okonjo-Iweala


The House of Representatives has for the second time on Wednesday asked the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala, to submit the full version of the forensic audit report on the alleged missing Nigerian National Petroleum
Corporation $20bn to it.

The House gave the first directive on Thursday last week, following a motion moved by its Minority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila.

On Wednesday (yesterday), the House again asked the minister for the report after. Gbajabiamila complained that almost one week following the first resolution, Okonjo- Iweala had not responded.

He said, “Mr. Speaker (Emeka Ihedioha, presiding), we request the Clerk of the House to formally write the Minister to produce that report to every member of this House.

“She has not produced the report, irrespective of the standing resolution of this House. We want to have the full report, not the snippets that they have been flying about.”

The House endorsed his submission and directed the minister a second time to comply.

An auditing firm, PriceWater House Coopers, had carried out the forensic investigation on behalf of the Federal Government.

The Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, Mr. Solomon Olamilekan, told reporters shortly after the House rose that the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation only presented a “highly-condensed version” of the report to the public.

He recalled that in the condensed version, the NNPC was directed to remit a “minimum of$1.4bn into the Federation Account.”

The lawmaker said that, as the committee overseeing public accounts, PAC was duty bound to ensure that the minister produced the report.

He ordered Okonjo-Iweala to submit the report not later than one week from Wednesday (yesterday).

Olamilekan added, “The PAC, cognisant of the provisions of the Constitution (1999), and empowered by the resolution, hereby requests that the full report on the forensic audit by PWC, which must include the initial raft report, the executive summary, management /internal
control letters, should be forwarded to the National Assembly not later than one week from today (Wednesday).”

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has, in spite of the drop in its oil revenue and dwindling allocations to the three tiers of government, insisted that Nigeria is not broke.

“The country is not broke, we have been meeting our obligations despite the challenges we have had with oil revenue streams but we have been doing the best that we can to improve our revenue from the non-oil sector,” the

Minister of State for Finance, Bashir Yuguda, said. Yuguda spoke with journalists after this month’s Federation Accounts Allocation Committee meeting in Abuja on Tuesday night.

The minister who, put the excess crude account at about $2bn, also spoke briefly on the forensic audit report and the amount to be refunded by the NNPC to the federation account.

“I have engaged the minister of petroluem and we have discussed the time frame on the refund of that amount,”

he said. FG, states, LGs’ allocations drop by N188.8bn in January

The drop in crude oil prices market has taken its toll on the federation account as statutory allocations to the three tiers of government witnessed a decline of N188.8bn from the budgeted estimates of N688.94bn to N500.13bn in January.

The N500.13bn which is contained in the communique issued at the end of the FAAC meeting, also represents a decline of N80.25bn over the N580.38bn shared by the federal, state and local governments last December.

The N500.13bn, is made up of statutory allocation of N416.09bn; Value Added Tax, N63.94bn; exchange gain, N8.57bn and refund of N6.33bn made by the Nigerian National Petroluem Corporation to the federation account to settle its indebtedness.

The communique attributed the decline in gross allocation to drop in crude prices from $77.53m in November to $52.34m in December.

It also stated that a 33 per cent decrease in export volume between November and December 2014 translated into a loss of $159.88.

The report read, “The gross revenue of N416.09bn received for the month was lower than the N490.03bn received in the previous month by N73.93bn.

“There was substantial loss of revenue due to further drop in crude oil prices from $77.53m in November to $52.34m in December 2014.

“Also, a 33 per cent decrease in export volume between November and December 2014 translated to a loss of $159.88m.

“The shutdown and shut-in trunks and pipelines at various terminals continued to impact negatively on the revenue performance. Also, non-oil revenues performed below the 2014 budgetary provisions.”

From the statutory allocation, the Federal Government received N194.34bn, representing 52.68 per cent while the states and local governments got N98.57bn and N75.99bn respectively.

Similarly, N39.45bn was shared to the oil producing states based on the 13 per cent derivation principle.

The Federal Government received N9.20bn or 15 per cent from revenue from VAT while the states and local governments got N30.67bn and N21.48bn respectively.

‘Corruption, not oil crash behind Nigeria’s woes’

The All Progressives Congress Vice-Presidential
candidate, Yemi Osinbajo, has said that the biggest problem facing Nigeria is corruption and not dwindling oil prices.

Osinbajo stated this in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, on Wednesday during the presentation of APC’s 2015 manifesto on Securing Nigeria’s Future.

He said, “Nigeria problem, as you know, is not lack of resources. The government of today has tried to give the impression that the problem of the country is that of falling oil prices , which is now below $50 per barrel.

“That is not true, that is not the problem. The problem is the corruption or the theft of resources.”

The former Lagos State Attorney-General and
Commissioner for Justice, added that the Federal Government itself had confirmed that over 400,000 barrels of oil are stolen every day from Nigeria.

He put the value of the stolen oil at N3.1tn a year.

SOURCE: Punchng.com


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